There is something so special about the arrival of Spring. After months of Winter, the days begin to stretch longer and brighter, buds appear on trees and the garden springs to life again. It has to be one of my favourite times of year, full of potential and new beginnings.
As a keen gardener, I love nothing more than being outdoors, whether on a countryside walk along hedgerows or in my garden, hands in the mud. It is this time of year we start to take note of the change in season with so much to appreciate and treasure.
This year I have particularly enjoyed bringing Spring bulbs indoors. Varieties of bulbs have been on display in my cottage since the start of January and have seen me through the colder months, as the garden begins to wake up.
Most bulbs such as narcissi (daffodils), hyacinths, muscari and dwarf iris can be ‘forced’ indoors. This simply means to pot up bulbs in your home, giving them the warmth and conditions to grow as though Spring has arrived - indoors! Sarah Raven nurseries have a wonderful article with more details on how to do this. Once potted, most bulbs need placing in a cool and dark space such as a pantry, shed or garage. After a few weeks, they are ready to be brought into your home, somewhere warmer and will begin to sprout and bloom.
Above is Narcissus papyraceus 'Ziva' - a beautiful soft white with multi-headed flowers and highly fragrant. Perfect to have on a windowsill or the dining table as its lovely scent drifts through the room. This particular daffodil has been bred for indoors and can be ‘forced’ from December right through to March, staying in flower for 3-6 weeks from the first shoots.
The beauty of indoor forcing bulbs is you can pretty much grow these anytime of year (although they may struggle in hotter summer months) - most nurseries and horticulturists usually recommend from November through to April depending on the variety. It is also common for florists or local supermarkets to have pre-potted bulbs to purchase for growing on indoors if you’re a little late to pot your own bulbs! In late-February and early-March I cherished the delicate beauty of blue muscari in a little terracotta pot. Now, the vibrant yellow Narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ will flower happily for the rest of March.
Here's to welcoming more of these sunny and warmer days as we look towards Easter and all the Spring activities ahead!